Mendo Mod's Market Metric

Beautiful home, Paul Tay design, splendid views, beach access—but it lingers for sale
Fridays on the Homefront
Designed by lauded SoCal mid-century modern architect Paul Tay, this charming 1981 modern home, located two miles south of the town of Mendocino, sits on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean's crashing waves. It remains unsold after three months on the market. But why? Photos courtesy Sarah Schoeneman

A splendid swan song by a talented mid-century modern architect sits waiting for its next owner, patiently perched above the Pacific, overpriced or perhaps just out of the way.

"I don't know why it's taking longer," confessed realtor Sarah Schoeneman, speaking of her nearly three-month-old listing of a two-bed, two-bath house in the central Mendocino Coast hamlet of Little River.

Designed by lauded Long Beach architect Paul Tay, the charming 1981 home at 6380 North Highway 1 was listed in May 2019 at $2,425,000. The owner pulled it off the market after five months, and then relisted last October with Mendo Sotheby's International Realty for the barely reduced price of $2.4 million.

  Fridays on the Homefront
Rear patio with a panoramic view of the ocean.

"It might be the only one he's done up here," she commented of Tay, one of the scores of talented modernists who graduated from University of Southern California's seminal architecture school in the mid-century.

The Pomona native did his undergraduate work at Cal and was professionally inspired in part by a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West in 1949. Tay started in the offices of another noted Long Beach modernist, George Montierth, then went on to found his own practice and design about 30 striking residences in Long Beach, including his own chalet and studio compound at 3367 North Crest Drive (1961).

As the realtor noted, Tay appears have at least semi-retired after moving to Mendocino in 1971. One exception is this 1,795-square-foot Highway 1 home sited on 2.9 acres of a gated, four-parcel complex dubbed Stillwell Point, overlooking Buckhorn Cove.

  Fridays on the Homefront
Living room.

One of three homes built so far in the complex, Tay's striking design is an asymmetrical floor plan surrounded by walls of glass and wood, interspersed with triangular clerestory windows and walnut cabinetry. The master bedroom features a fireplace and deck access, while an interior courtyard is relatively sheltered from the elements and breathtaking ocean views.

Schoeneman allowed that a small studio "could easily be another bedroom." She said the house needs no significant repairs, with the kitchen having gained new appliances and granite countertops a few years back, although "the bathrooms could be updated."

  Fridays on the Homefront
Office and view beyond.